Posted at: 09/09/2013 6:44 PM
By: Dan Conradt

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Commissioner Casselius Visits Kingsland High School

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's a school district that has won national acclaim for its innovative programs.

And Monday, Minnesota's top educator got a tour.

"Looking at wonderful examples of where great education is happening for kids" Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Casselius told us.

That includes programs like "Ramp Up To Readiness"

"Getting kids career-ready in sixth grade through 12th grade" said Kingsland High School Principal Jim Hecimovich.

“They're working on critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and team-working skills" added Kingsland superintendent John McDonald.

“Working on projects, working in teams and working on more challenging curriculum so students are being prepared for college and career" said education commissioner Brenda Casselius.

“We now offer over 80 college credits for students who want to start their higher-level learning" Kingsland superintendent John McDonald told an all-school assembly to celebrate the education commissioner’s visit on Monday morning.

"We had 15 ninth graders last year take the end of course assessment and receive college credit in ninth grade" Kingsland high school principal Jim Hecimovich explained.

But it doesn't mean that reading, writing and ‘rithmetic are taking a back-seat.

"The three r's really are embedded in what you have to get kids ready for college, but you have to add more challenges for students and get them applying their skills" education commissioner Brenda Casselius told us.

And it seems to be working: “We're seeing good evidence in multiple assessments in how our kids are performing and the engagement of our kids in the curriculum" superintendent John McDonald said.

“We are moving to what a truly 21st century school should look like” high school principal Jim Hecimovich said. “Let's shoot for the stars."